Bars Closing Leads to City-Wide Identity Crisis
In the wake of the recent spike in cases in Johnson County, Governor Kim Reynolds finally shut down bars in Iowa City. This decision has led to an identity crisis across the city, as people all over campus suddenly have no idea what they’re supposed to do with their weekends now.
Crowds of University of Iowa students still fill the downtown area, but now they wander around aimlessly, searching for bad selfie lighting and cocktails that come in mini pitchers.
“I saw some of them lining up outside Union, like it was an instinct or something,” says Grant Abbott, an employee at the Airliner, a bar that gets to stay open because it technically serves food. “They had stamps on their hands, I think they made them themselves.”
Other students have been seen ambling around the Ped Mall, inquiring at stores like Yotopia and Ten Thousand Villages if this is where they buy a personality.
In an effort to stay open, other bars in the area are scrambling to hire cooks and pulling out menus from five years ago to prove that they serve “pub grub” too. The cook from the Airliner is reportedly holding training for bartenders from places all around downtown, including Summit and Brothers (which is billed as a bar “and grill”).
One place that seems to be doing well despite the closures is the basement shared by Studio 13 and the Yacht Club.
“That basement has never been a great money maker in the past,” says Jake Olson, the owner of Studio 13. “But when everything else is closed and existential dread starts to set in, it turns out crappy bar food and sober karaoke is the closest they can get to a fun night out.”
RAs in the dorms are attempting to lure their residents back home with virtual floor events like Zoom Tag and Loud Telephone (they yell through the walls), but nothing has worked yet.